With three of the UK’s leading growing media brands in its stable – Growise, Happy Compost and Richmoor – The Greener Gardening Company is ideally positioned for growth as demand for quality compost continues to go through the roof.
To dig deeper into forces that are influencing the market, and examine how retailers can maximise the potential of the growing media and soil improver categories, The Greener Gardening Company’s National Sales Manager, Jason Pike, offers his expert in-depth opinion on how the 2021 season is gearing-up to be one of unprecedented growth.
In the midst of a pandemic, why is The Greener Gardening Company so confident of a buoyant season in 2021?
You only have to look at new research from the HTA that claimed that almost three million new gardeners have emerged this year as a result of lockdown. Dig deeper into this study and you’ll find that a younger consumer has been identified, with nearly half of novice gardeners aged under 45. We’re calling it the UK’s new ‘gardening army’ and for a sector that has been traditionally geared towards an older customer demographic, these new green-fingered enthusiasts are the holy grail of garden retail.
Younger consumers are, without question, heavily focused on ethical shopping and that’s good news for suppliers of peat-free and peat-reduced growing media. Compost is at the heart of everything that consumers grow, and an emerging younger customer base presents a win-win situation for suppliers and retailers. When you consider that the HTA Garden Retail Monitor reports that sales of garden products were up by 34%, 17% and 19% in June, July and August respectively – a time of the year when sales traditionally slow down a little, it demonstrates how a pent-up demand for gardening is not only driving growth but extending the season, too.
How does The Greener Gardening Company plan to engage with younger consumers?
The need for clarity and on-point messaging at the point of purchase has never been greater. Historically, gardening skills were passed down through generations within families, but it’s clear that this is no longer the case. Younger first-time gardeners are time-poor and can easily become bewildered by the extent of choice instore, while they may be unfamiliar with compost terminology and the nature of raw ingredients.
For this reason, The Greener Gardening Company has divided its offering into three leading brands that are backed by clear messaging that makes it easier for consumers to make informed choices about products that suit their needs. Happy Compost, our newest and most eco-friendly brand to date, is the go-to choice for 100% peat-free growing media; Growise is the established champion in the traditional specialist growing media category and our Richmoor garden professional range appeals to consumers who seek the ultimate in value-for-money, leading the way in volume-driven, multibuy-led offers that we believe will be a key driver of sales as households tighten their belts in the face of the economic recession resulting from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Why is the Happy Compost range doubling in size for 2021?
Innovation holds the key to driving category growth and Happy Compost has innovation at its core. ‘Happy’ is an adjective that portrays a feeling of pleasure of contentment – when gardeners achieve success, they experience happiness. Unique branding featuring inspirational imagery of successful flowers, fruit and vegetables inspires confidence at the point of purchase and that has driven sales throughout 2020. Strong messaging has helped to deliver an eight-fold increase in sales compared to 2019, with healthy repeat orders.
With the nation’s appetite for gardening showing no sign of slowing, and foreign travel off the cards for many households for the foreseeable future, we believe the time is right to significantly expand the range, extending its reach from growing media into soil improvement and landscaping with the launch of Happy Farmyard Manure, Enriched Top Soil, Lawn Soil, Mini Chip Bark, Composted Bark, Medium Chip Bark and Chunky Chip Bark. This expanded portfolio will deliver everything that retailers need to help consumers turn their gardening, grow-your-own and landscaping aspirations and projects into reality.
How is The Greener Gardening Company reducing its dependence on peat?
Firstly, it’s important to point out that The Greener Gardening Company is the UK’s largest peat-free growing media manufacturer. In 2019, peat-free accounted for less than 20% of the company’s sales but this year it’s likely to hit 46% and we’re on track to be more than 50% peat-free in 2021. This incredible achievement has come about through a combination of investment and innovation: the UK-manufactured 100% peat-free Happy Compost range is our most eco-friendly and sustainable brand to date.
Confidence drives repeat sales in the growing media category, and that’s why we only brought Happy to market after it had proven its worth during two years of trials, where it outperformed all brand-leading peat-free growing media. As consumers witness first-hand the exceptional level of performance offered by Happy products, the switch towards sustainable growing media will gain momentum. Sustainability is at the very heart of the Happy Compost brand: not only is its packaging recyclable, but it incorporates 30% recycled plastic in its bags, while all core raw materials are recycled or sustainable by-products, including bark, wood fibre, coir and green compost, heightening the range’s appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.
How can The Greener Gardening Company help garden retailers to deliver sales growth?
While the established Growise and Richmoor brands drive consumer loyalty across all retail channels, Happy Compost has been designed exclusively for the garden centre market, to provide retailers with a unique point of difference aimed at driving footfall in growing media categories. We believe the range offers unrivalled potential to power garden retail ahead in 2021, and that’s why we’ve developed high-impact point-of-sale and merchandising solutions that will help instore teams to maximise the Happy brand’s potential. From roadside banners to instore Correx boards and wooden display merchandising solutions, we have all the tools available to maximise footfall in growing media departments and optimise opportunities for growth.
In the light of ongoing turbulence due to the Covid-19 pandemic that’s affecting every sector of retail, we have operated 24-hour production into autumn, with a goal of ensuring that an exceptional level of stock is on the ground ahead of Christmas. This strategy will help to ensure that any future disruption to manufacturers’ supply chains, such as availability of packaging or imports of coir, will have little effect on lead times, should the pandemic throw further challenges into our path. Investment in a fogging system to keep our offices and machinery regularly sanitised and ensure that facilities remain Covid-secure, will help to enable operations to run smoothly ahead of the peak spring sales season. Retailers can rest assured that by stocking products from The Greener Gardening Company, the future is bright for growing media sales.
Find out more
To find out more about The Greener Gardening Company’s leading range, please visit www.thegreenergardener.com